The Dragon's Blade:The Reborn King

By: Michael R. Miller

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


IF FINISHING THE book was once something of a vague dream, then this is one of those pages I never thought I’d ever have to write. However, since I have managed to write the book now, it seems fitting to thank some key people for helping me get to this stage.

Firstly, my parents who humoured me enough to give me a chance on this and took reading an alpha draft of the book seriously. It was that chance and that time that allowed me to get better and learn. Another person I should acknowledge is Meg King, who read, edited, and gave very encouraging and useful feedback on some of the earliest drafts of the opening chapters. Those pieces now look nothing like what she read, and I hope she enjoys the final product. Another mention goes out to my flatmate at the time of writing, Andrew Russell, who listened to me talk endlessly about characters, plots and other ideas, giving me someone to bounce things off and read chapters aloud to.

An immense amount of gratitude is due to my editor, Leila Dewji, who helped drag up the weaker sections and kept on at me to improve other parts, even when I didn’t want to at times. I’m much happier with the book now than when it first went off for editing. Part of this process involved sending the book out to beta readers and their feedback was invaluable. Overlapping comments threw up some remaining problems and spurred me to make needed improvements. These wonderful people are: Christine Baker, Gavin Halliday, George McCloghry, Kalyani Nedungadi, Lilly Baker, Rachel Norman, Rebekkah Ormel and Ross Ferguson.

Cover design and maps add immeasurably to the feel of a fantasy novel and I must thank Rachel Lawston of Lawston Design for her magnificent work on those areas. Another thank you is due to everyone else at I_AM Self-Publishing who worked on this project.

Finally, I’d like to give a wider shout out to the members of the London Writers’ Café who are always a joy to talk to. It was comforting, especially early on, to meet countless others who are passionate about writing, striving to get better, and act as a pseudo support group. I send out my very best wishes to you all in all your writing endeavours.





PROLOGUE


IN THE VOID between worlds, where infinity had already gone on for too long, a voice called out.

“Come,” it said. It echoed on through the nothingness, commanding, “Come.”

And he answered it. He did not have a choice.

He knew not who the voice belonged to but he could feel the force that was pulling him. His only vision was of green light and the only thing he heard was screaming. Perhaps it wasn’t screaming? It might have been the sound he made as he sped towards the voice.

He existed because the voice beckoned him. That was all he understood.

The green light turned to darkness and he felt heat all around him. There was a silence, brief but complete, until the voice boomed once more.

“Rise and obey,” it said. “You will lead my armies across this world and you shall be named Dukoona.”

The heat intensified as flames leapt up all around Dukoona. They flared so far away that the fires became only minute red dots to his vision. Somehow, all the light was concentrated on Dukoona, and he rose, as he had been bidden. He slowly looked down to his body. Fire and shadow swirled greedily around white bones, thickening and weaving until he saw a pair of dark purple hands take shape. He twitched his fingers and they danced to his commands. The rest of his body took form out of the shadows, becoming so dense it might have been flesh. His feet touched stone, which was surprisingly cool, and the voice spoke once more.

“You will obey,” it said. “Answer me now, Dukoona.”

“Who are you?” Dukoona said, and he found his voice was deep. “What do you want with me?”

“You will lead my armies,” it said, rumbling through the endless cavern.

“And who are you?” Dukoona asked again. “Whose armies am I to lead?”

The voice did not answer.

There was a snapping sound and then Dukoona was not alone. In front of him appeared two small creatures, gnashing and biting at the air.

“These are the demons you will command,” the voice said.

Dukoona stepped closer to inspect them. Their flesh seemed similar to his own, though it was less dense, more like a black mist that swirled freely, yet still maintained its shape. They were far shorter than Dukoona, and both were twisted and hunched at odd angles. Each bore a long shard of rusted metal.

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